Digital Capital: A Bourdieusian Perspective on the Digital Divide

Massimo Ragnedda
Northumbria University, UK

Maria Laura Ruiu
Northumbria University, UK

Product Details
29 Jan 2020
Emerald Publishing Limited
136 pages - 129 x 198mm
Emerald Points
Starting from the assumption that digital capital is a capital in its own right, and can be quantified and measured as such, the authors of this book examine how digital capital can be defined, measured and impact policy.  

Using the Bourdieusian lens, this book makes a critical contribution to the field by examining in depth the notion of digital capital and by introducing a new theoretical toolkit in order to fully conceptualise it. Against this theoretical background, the authors propose a set of indicators that can be used to measure digital capital at an individual level. Ultimately, readers will learn how this can be used by policy makers to tackle social inequalities which are based on the digital exclusion of citizens.
Chapter 1. Defining Digital Capital 
Chapter 2. Operationalizing Digital Capital 
Chapter 3. Implications

Massimo Ragnedda, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Mass Communication at Northumbria University, UK, where he conducts research on the digital divide and digital media.  

Maria Laura Ruiu obtained her second PhD from Northumbria University, UK. Her research interests fall into environmental and media sociology with specific focus on climate change communication, social capital and digital media.
‘As digital communications becomes ever more central to everyday life, work and leisure, their impact on inequality becomes increasingly profound. Is there a new ‘digital capital’ acquired by those who gain most from these technologies? The authors, established experts in this field, address this problem with a thorough and informed analysis of the concept, and its implications for policy and understanding.’ - Peter Golding, Professor, Northumbria and Newcastle Universities, UK

‘Taking their inspiration from Bourdieu’s analysis of capital, Ragnedda and Ruiu extend the concept theoretically to the digital. Digital capital is operationalised through the creation of an index that accounts for differences in digital skills and competencies. Digital capital is then related to other forms of capital – economic, social and cultural – showing how digital capital works as a bridging capital allowing those with economic and cultural resources to use the digital to acquire ever greater advantage. This speaks to an important new wave of research on the ‘third level of the digital divide’ that seeks to measure outcomes. This is a highly cogent and important book both theoretically and empirically that should be of interest to sociologists of class and inequality as well as communication scholars seeking to understand the digital divide.’ - John Downey, Professor of Comparative Media Analysis and Head of Communication and Media, Loughborough University; Vice-President, European Communication Research & Education Association

‘Ragnedda and Ruiu’s build the field of Bourdieusian analysis of digital inequalities in their timely scholarship that speaks to key issues in the emergent field of digital divide studies: theory, methodology, and implications. The authors push the field forward by conceptualizing and operationalizing digital capital, thus integrating important theoretical insights with replicable empirical examination. Meeting this challenge allows their work to make real impact concerning the implications of digital inequalities for theorists, academics, policymakers, and practitioners.’ - Laura Robinson, Associate Professor, Santa Clara University

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